Price of wheat flour almost doubles in local market

Published On: January 26, 2023 10:53 AM NPT By: RAJESH KHANAL

KATHMANDU, Jan 26: Price of wheat flour has skyrocketed in the local market as the shortage of wheat looms due to India’s restriction on export of its staple crop.

According to a retailer in Maitidevi, the price of common flour has increased to Rs 85 per kg from around Rs 50 per kg in the past 10 months. Similarly, the price of fine flour has gone up to Rs 100 per kg from Rs 60 per kg during this period.

Citing the Russia-Ukraine war and the decline in production, India has put a ban on export of wheat flour since May 13, 2022. Due to the request from Nepal’s government, the southern neighbor has partially lifted the restriction on the export of the basic food.   

Last month, the Indian government pledged to supply 50,000 tons of wheat to Nepal. Following the announcement, the Government of Nepal allowed 24 flour mills to import 30,489 tons of wheat from the southern neighbor.

According to Nepal Flour Mills Association (NFMA), there is an acute shortage of wheat flour due to the Indian restriction. The shortage of raw material has adversely affected manufacturing of edibles like biscuits, noodles, bakery items and naan. 

“This has made the eatery businesses including restaurants unable to maintain adequate supply of their products,” said the NFMA in its press release issued on Wednesday.

The NFMA has said about 80 percent of the flour mills are on verge of collapse due to the shortage of the raw material. “Apart from this, the increased import cost has led to the excessive hike in prices of food items in the domestic market. The remaining 20 percent of the companies can sustain for just another 20 days,” said Radhe Shyam Agrawal, general secretary of the NFMA.   

As the main harvesting season of wheat in the country will start only after three months, the flour mills have been struggling to manage the raw material in adequate quantity. The NFMA estimates that the country will need at least 200,000 tons of wheat until domestic wheat will be available.

Agrawal said they have urged the government to take initiative to talk on the matter with the Indian government. 


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